Published: June 6th 2013 by HachetteAU
Format: ARC, 386 pages
Goodreads ● The Book Depository ● Booktopia ● Bookworld
Darkness never dies.
Alina and Mal are on the run. Hunted and haunted, but together at last, they can't outrun Alina's past or her destiny forever. The Darkling has emerged from the Shadow Fold with a terrifying new power and he needs Alina to realise his dangerous plan. There are others who would like to use Alina's gift too.
And as her power grows, somehow, she must choose between her country, her power, and her love - or risk losing everything to the oncoming storm.
It’s taken me five months to get around to reading Siege and Storm, and I hope I can be forgiven for avoiding it because I thought nothing could live up to how amazing Shadow and Bone was. In terms of action and plotting, this is a better book than the predecessor, but I enjoyed it less because of the romance.
I’d thought Shadow and Bone was action packed, filled with twists and turns that kept me guessing. Well, I’d obviously not read the sequel yet (haha!). The book hurtled at break-neck pace toward an explosive conclusion, and along the way we got to see flying boats, more of the Fold, and Alina take control of her destiny is amazing ways. The book began with Alina and Mal still on the run, but they found themselves back in Ravka before long, battling the Darkling.
Alina is a great character – she’s not just strong because she’s a Strong Female Character. She’s realistically flawed, and her fears, prejudices and pettiness are never far from the surface. I admire that she knows what she needs to do and then just does it, making whatever sacrifices necessary. She does have her bouts of melancholy, and spends a chunk of the book feeling thoroughly sorry for herself, all the while ignoring that she’s had plenty of opportunities to back out and hasn’t taken them. I think most of it stemmed from Mal: she didn’t really know what to do with his unhappiness and it made her unhappy too.
Mal is still the loyal, adorable man from before, but the longer he stays in war-torn Ravka, the more he suffers. He’s petulant at times, and more than once I wanted to step into the book and slap him. Whereas I’d thought the Darkling was awesome in the last book, he did nothing in this one other than severely creep me out. He’s one sick, twisted person. Considering that Alina and Mal are running away from him, I’d expected the Darkling to have a diminished presence in Siege and Storm. However, the author uses some clever techniques to keep him in the picture (creepy as it is).View Spoiler »Oddly, this is one of the things I ended up not liking about the book – not that the Darkling appears to Alina at times, but that it never occurs to our Sun Summoner that since he can touch her, interact with her, maybe he’s spying on them. Nope. Not even a stray musing on whether he sees anything else while haunting Alina. This isn’t ever addressed in the book either, which leads me to believe either I missed something while reading it, or it’s a massive plot hole. « Hide Spoiler
It’s the romantic subplots that brought Siege and Storm down, in my opinion. Not only are Mal and Alina woefully mistrusting, especially after their return to Ravka, they both decide the way to deal with it is to keep big secrets. I wasn’t exactly surprised when it blew up in their faces, but I was annoyed at how they both reacted. It didn’t help matters that they are both insanely jealous, which actually doesn’t makes sense considering Mal’s past and Alina’s lingering feelings for the Darkling. Mal can’t even look at a girl but it’s okay for Alina to feel conflicted about her evil-almost-ex-boyfriend and want to kiss a Prince of Ravka. Yup. Bardugo does us one better in Siege and Storm – not only is Alina confused about the Darkling, there’s also this added nonsense about a political marriage to a prince. It’s just silly – it doesn’t take away from how amazing Alina is because she has those feelings, but it’s weird how she goes from pining after Mal, sighing over him for years, and then finally letting go and trusting the Darkling in the Shadow and Bone to falling over all the available men just to make Mal jealous. Mal, who so obviously loves her more than his life.
The book ended on another cliff-hanger (God aren’t you getting tired of those?) and since it’ll be another six or so months until I’ll be back in the world, I’ll put aside by worries over the romance now. Siege and Storm is thumping great sequel to Shadow and Bone, and fans of the latter should have already sought it out and devoured it. If you haven’t though, do! It’s great, and join me in pining for the next instalment, Ruin and Rising.